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Posts Tagged ‘Chet Atkins’

Died On This Date (January 3, 2014) Phil Everly / The Everly Brothers

Posted by themusicsover on January 3, 2014

Phil Everly
January 19, 1939 – January 3, 2014

phil-everlyPhil Everly, along with his brother Don Everly, are considered the must influential vocal duo pop music has ever known.  Working together as the Everly Brothers, they created such seamless and glorious harmonies that no less than members of the Byrds, the Beatles, and the Beach Boys have preached their influence ever since.  Born in Chicago, Illinois to a musical family, Phil learned to play the guitar at an early age.  Family patriarch, Ike Everly was a respected professional musician himself, so the boys were introduced to music as a way of life while still in their childhood.  Ultimately settling in Knoxville, Tennessee, the Everly family performed as a group throughout the area for many years.  By the early ’50s, Phil and Don were working as a duo, making an early believer out of Chet Atkins who helped then secure their first recording contract with Columbia Records.  Their first single, “Keep A’ Lovin’ Me,”  performed less than spectacularly, so Columbia dropped them.  Before they knew it, Acuff-Rose Publishing snatched Phil and Don up as songwriters while Roy Acuff helped land them a deal with Cadence Records. From there, the Everly Brothers’ career skyrocketed.  Their first release for Cadence, “Bye Bye Love” shot to #2 on the pop charts, #1 on the country charts, and #5 on the R&B charts.  What followed that million-seller was a string of hits that helped define the era.  Records like “Wake Up Little Susie,” “All I Have To Do Is Dream,” and “Cathy’s Clown”  earned the duo more than $35 Million dollars by 1962 – an astonishing sum at that time.  After the British Invasion hit the U.S. in 1964, the Everly Brothers’ shine diminished as teenagers scrambled for the new sound by the likes of the Beatles, who ironically, might not have ever crossed the Atlantic if it weren’t for Phil and Don.  By the dawn of the ’70s, the Everly Brothers had split up to pursue solo careers.  Phil worked with likes of  Warren Zevon and Roy Wood, and later scored a hit with “Don’t Say You Don’t Love Me No More,” a tune he wrote and performed with actress, Sondra Locke in the Clint Eastwood hit film, Every Which Way But Loose.  In 1983, the Everly Brothers reunited for an acclaimed concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London.  The show was recorded and the subsequent album returned the duo to the charts.  Phil and Don continued to record and perform as a duo and individually well into the 2000s.  In all, they scored 35 Billboard Top 100 singles, a record that still stands to this day.  They  were also recognized with nearly every musical award you could think of including being part of the first group of ten artists inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.  On January 3, 2014, it was announced that Phil Everly died of pulmonary disease.  He was 74.

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Posted in Country, Early Rock, Musician, Rock, Singer, Songwriter | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Died On This Date (June 12, 2013) Johnny Smith / Cool Jazz Guitar Great

Posted by themusicsover on June 12, 2013

Johnny Smith
June 25, 1922 – June 12, 2013

johnny-smithJohnny Smith was a jazz guitarist who was considered one of the premiere cool jazz players of his day.  Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Smith and his family eventually settled in Maine where the boy began learning to play the guitar by practicing at local pawn shops.  By the time he was 13, he was teaching other neighborhood kids to play.  While still in high school, Smith joined a local hillbilly band, Uncle Lem and the Mountain Boys who took him on the road to play various fairs and dances throughout Maine.  Since he was earning $4.00 a night, Smith promptly quit high school to pursue his career.  By the time he turned 18, he picked up an interest in jazz so he quit the Mountain Boys and joined a jazz trio called the Airport Boys.  After serving in the US Army as part of the Military Band, Smith put his music career in high gear.  With a reputation for being one of the era’s most versatile guitarists – he could just as easily play classical as he could hillbilly and jazz – Smith found plenty of work as a session player.  In 1952, he released what would become his most acclaimed album, Moonlight In Vermont, which also featured Stan Getz on saxophone.  The single of the same name was a big hit as well.  As a songwriter, Smith is perhaps best known for 1954’s “Walk Don’t Run” which became hits for both Chet Atkins and the Ventures.  In 1958, he retired from the music business grind and moved to Colorado to raise his daughter since his wife had recently passed away.  He owned a music store and taught guitar lessons there for many years.  Johnny Smith was 90 when he passed away on June 12, 2013.

Thanks to Harold Lepidus at Bob Dylan Examiner for the assist.

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Died On This Date (November 21, 2011) Paul Yandell / Band Leader For Chet Atkins

Posted by themusicsover on November 21, 2011

Paul Yandell
September 6, 1935 – November 21, 2011

Paul Yandell was a Nashville guitar wiz who is perhaps best remembered for the 25 years he served as Chet Atkins’ band leader and guitar duo partner.  Having become proficient on the guitar at an early age, Yandell moved to Nashville during the mid ’50s and launched his Music City career playing with the Louvin Brothers.  From there he joined up with Kitty Wells on whose show he performed from 1961 until 1970.  After a brief run with Jerry Reed, Yandell was hired by Atkins.  The year was 1975, and he went on to play alongside the guitar legend for the next quarter century.   Throughout his career, Yandell released a handful of albums, including a tribute to Atkins, Forever Chet after he passed away in 2001. As an in-demand session player, Yandell can also be heard on records by the likes of Dolly Parton, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Perry Como, George Strait, and more.  Paul Yandell died of cancer on November 21, 2011.  He was 76.

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Died On This Date (December 27, 2004) Hank Garland / Nashville Studio Legend

Posted by themusicsover on December 27, 2010

Walter “Hank” Garland
November 11, 1930 – December 27, 2004

Hank Garland was respected session guitarist who was part of country music’s legendary Nashville A-Team who played on most of the greatest records during the ’50s and ’60s.  Garland picked up the guitar at the age of six, and by the time he was 12 he was playing on local radio stations, and within two years of that, he moved to Nashville to further his career.  Like his friend Chet Atkins, Garland stood out above the rest for the fact that he was so skilled at marrying country with jazz in his playing.  When he was 19, Garland released his biggest hit, “Sugarfoot Rag,” which went on to sell over a million copies.  Between 1957 and 1961, Garland recorded and performed live with Elvis Presley, adding his signature sound to such records as “Big Hunk O’ Love” and “Little Sister.”  Over the years he also played with Patsy Cline, Roy Orbison, Conway Twitty, Bob Dylan, and Marty Robbins, to name a few.  He also collaborated with such jazz icons as Charlie Parker and George Shearing.  Garland did his part to improve race relations at the time by hiring African-American jazz musicians to perform with him to the dismay to some in Nashville.  In 1961, Garland was seriously hurt in a car accident that some have speculated was purposely caused by a rival.  Either way, Garland ended up in a coma for several days and incurred injuries that left him unable to record again. Hank Garland was 74 when he passed away on December 27, 2004.

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Died On This Date (August 14, 2006) Johnny Duncan / Country Singer

Posted by themusicsover on August 14, 2010

Johnny Duncan
October 5, 1938 – August 14, 2006

johnny-duncanJohnny Duncan was a prolific country singer and guitarist who could count 14 studio albums to his name.   Born into a talented family that included cousins Eddie Seals, Dan Seals and Jimmy Seals, Duncan knew early on that he wanted to be a professional singer.  He got his chance while working as a disc jockey outside of Nashville when he was signed to Columbia Records.  Over the years he charted over 30 singles, included several popular duets with Janie Fricke.  As a writer, he had songs covered by Charley Pride, Chet Atkins, Conway Twitty and Marty Robbins.  Johnny Duncan suffered a fatal heart attack on August 14, 2006.  He was 67.

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Johnny Duncan

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